Betrayal, Vengeance, and the Anarchist Ideal: Virgilia D’Andrea’s Radical Antifascism in (American) Exile, 1928–1933

By Lorenza Stradiotti

A contribution to histories of women in the interwar transnational antifascist movement, particularly radical exiles, we focus on VirgiliaD’Andrea, a noted Italian anarchist exile from fascist Italy who spent her final exile in New York, 1928–33. An intellectual, writer-poet, and orator belonging to a small but influential group of Italian radical subversives, her New York speeches and lecture tours across the United States helped rejuvenate the depleted ranks of Italian American radical circles in an era of state repression. She also connected emotionally with her working-class audiences. An analysis of her speeches and lectures reveals that the concept of betrayal, and the pain but also political consciousness it aroused, and the belief that adherence to anarchist ideals and humanist internationalism offered a way out of the crippling effects of capitalism, imperialism, and dictatorship, framed D’Andrea’s life narrative and antifascist politics. An analysis of their historical, cultural, and political themes is also offered.

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